Energy in Benin

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Benin is a coastal country located in the Gulf of Guinea in Western Africa, which is a resource rich region. Energy in Benin has a diverse energy mix and takes several forms including: solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, fossil resources, and mineral resources. Out of this energy mix, about 60% of energy comes from biomass. Benin is also dependent on energy imports from Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.[1] While power plants and other energy facilities were built in the 1950s and 1960s, the lack of investment has led to deterioration over time. Similarly, its location in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea has led to an attempt of oil production starting in the late 1980s. However, due to unprofitable operations, oil production halted in 1998.  


Electrical generating capacity in 2002, totaled 122 MW. Total domestic power output in that same year was 55 GWh, of which hydropower accounted for 2 GWh and fossil fuels for the rest. Electricity consumption in 2002 was 488 GWh. An agreement was signed with Togo and Ghana in 1967 under which Benin receives low-cost electric power from Akosombo Dam on the Volta River in Ghana. Total electricity imports for 2002 were estimated at 437 GWh. Togo and Benin are constructing a dam on the Mono River, along the Togo border, that will feed a power station to supply the southern regions of both countries. Benin also imports electricity from Nigeria through the CEB-NEPA Power Interconnection, commissioned in 2007.

Generation type Installed power in 2019 (MW)
Diesel and heavy fuel oil 249
Hydro 100
Total 349


Access to Electricity[edit]

There is a disparity of access between urban and rural citizens. In 2010, around 34.2% of the population had access to electricity. The urban population had significantly greater access at 65.4% while the only 13.9% of the rural population had access.[2] The government attempted to bridge the gap by implementing a rural electrification program that seeks to increase levels of electrification in rural areas to 36% by 2015.[3] As of 2020, approximately 32% of Benin's population has access to electricity, leaving approximately 1.5 million citizens without access. On average, 56% of the urban population has access to electricity, while only about 11% has access in rural areas.[4] While the urban population has proportionally more access to electricity, they also face issues such as electricity shortage and outages. In 2016, it was reported that on average there are 28 electrical outages in Benin.[5] Accessibility to electricity is interconnected with the performance of the economy, and around 60% of firms state that electricity is their major constraint.[5] Additionally, the country's statistics show that there is a discrepancy between renewable energy consumption and renewable electricity output. In 2014, renewable energy consumption was 48.6%, while the renewable electricity output was 0.5%.[2] While Benin has many energy resources, it lacks the infrastructure both to convert these resources into electricity and to transport the electricity throughout the country.[6]

Addressing Energy Resource Accessibility Challenges[edit]

Energy resources in Benin and most Western African countries are not evenly distributed.[7] Yet, energy services and accessibility are important factors towards economic and industrial development. Thus, in 1975 the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), consisting 15 nations, was formed.[8] The goal of this organization was not only to promote economic growth, development, and cooperation, but also to link the power networks to ensure power security.[7] Under ECOWAS, the West African Power Pool (WAPP) was created with headquarters in Benin and the goal of furthering the goal of combining each nations power system into a regional source to provide more reliable energy services[9] Out of the 15 nations that are part of ECOWAS, 14 joined WAPP.[9]

International Support[edit]

Power Africa is an organization launched in 2013 by Barack Obama through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that brings together experts, private sector investors, and government institutions to help people gain accessibility to power.[10] The organization's goal is to invest and develop in renewable and sustainable energy and promote greater access. The current partnership is between United States and six other African countries—Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Ghana—as well as banks in Africa such as the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). In dealing with the energy needs in Nigeria, Rural electrification project has been embarked on by the Government with funding from international community. The main focus of the project is to augment the energy source with solar energy,[11] it partnered with solar companies to carry out the project.

Based on the Human Development Index report of 2018, Benin ranks 163 out of 189 countries as about 66.8% of the population faces poverty.[12] Many people still have limited access to electricity and maintenance and development of utilities and services requires financial support. Power Africa has provided partnership of the Benin's government with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which will assist in reinforcing the power sector in Benin.[13] The $375 million grant towards this project will assist in designing and construction of a more reliable power system as well as strengthening the infrastructure.[13]


Production from the Sémé off shore oil field began in October 1986, operated by Saga Petroleum, a Norwegian company working under a service contract. The field yielded 1.35 million barrels (215,000 m3) of oil in 1991. In 1990, Benin exported an estimated 1.27 million barrels (202,000 m3) of crude oil. In 1986, the contract was transferred to Pan Ocean Oil (Panoco), a Swiss-based US company, but loans to Benin from international development agencies were frozen because the company could not furnish satisfactory financial and capability statements; it withdrew, forcing Benin to take over production. Reserves, estimated at 44 million barrels (7,000,000 m3), were considered sufficient to meet domestic needs. However, Benin has no refinery; consequently, refined petroleum products have to be re-imported. In 2002, imports of refined petroleum products amounted to 12,600 barrels per day (2,000 m3/d). The company responsible for petroleum imports is Société Nationale de Commercialisation des Produits Pétroliers (SONACOP).

Benin ceased petroleum production from its Seme oilfield in 1998. America's Kosmos Energy LLC explored for petroleum in 2006.[14]

In recent years, there has been an attempt to revive the oil production and industry in Benin. In September 2019, Niger and China launched the construction of the Niger-Benin Oil Pipeline. This pipeline, roughly 1980 kilometers (1230 miles), will run from the Diffa Region in the Southeast of Niger to the Port Seme Terminal in Benin.[15] The projected pipeline is to have two thirds run through Niger and one third through Benin.[16] Previously, Niger exported its oil through Chad in order to reach a Cameroon port; however, there has been much instability in the Sahel region.[17] The Niger-Benin Oil Pipeline project is projected to take about two and a half years. It is estimated that this pipeline will increase Niger's oil export as well as create economic traffic for Benin.[18]

Natural gas[edit]

The company responsible for gas imports is Société Beninoise de Gaz. Natural gas is supplied to Benin by the West African Gas Pipeline.

West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP)[edit]

The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) owns the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP). The pipeline transports natural gas and extends from Itoki, Nigeria to Benin, Togo, Ghana.[19][20] It is one of the largest projects regarding fossil fuel on the continent and the first to be constructed in sub-Saharan Africa.[21] Although Benin has natural gas reserves, there is no active production. The WAGP Project, started in 2004, serves as an alternative to bring more stable forms of electricity generation into the households and firms.[20] The development of the pipeline also brings more economic opportunities both in terms of industrial development and job opportunities. [20]


  1. ^ "Benin : Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction". IMF. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  2. ^ a b "Benin". SEforALL Africa Hub. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  3. ^ "Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience (VAR) - HELIO International". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  4. ^ "Power Africa in Benin | Power Africa | U.S. Agency for International Development". 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  5. ^ a b "Power outages in firms in a typical month (number) - Benin | Data". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  6. ^ "Benin : Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction". IMF. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  7. ^ a b Medewou, M. Mawuena; Chetangny, P.; Houndedako, S.; Vianou, Antoine; Chamagne, D.; Barbier, G. (2019-08-01). "Stability study of the interconnection of electricity networks of WAPP countries - case of control zone II (Ghana, Togo & Benin)": 563–568. doi:10.1109/PowerAfrica.2019.8928660. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) | ". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  9. ^ a b "Creation of the WAPP". ECOWAPP. 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  10. ^ Bank, African Development (2019-04-18). "Power Africa Initiative". African Development Bank - Building today, a better Africa tomorrow. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  11. ^ "solar energy".
  12. ^ "| Human Development Reports". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  13. ^ a b "Power Africa in Benin | Power Africa | U.S. Agency for International Development". 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  14. ^ Omayra Bermúdez-Lugo. "The Mineral Industry of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Sao Tome e Principe". 2006 Minerals Yearbook. U.S. Geological Survey (October 2007). This article incorporates text from this U.S. government source, which is in the public domain.
  15. ^ "Niger's oil export hopes advance as Benin pipeline works start | S&P Global Platts". 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  16. ^ "Niger seeks to step up oil production with pipeline to coast". WTOP. 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  17. ^ "Niger, China Launch Oil Pipeline Project Crossing Benin | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  18. ^ "Niger-Benin Crude Pipeline, Niger and Benin, Africa". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  19. ^ "The Pipeline System". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  20. ^ a b c Company, West African Pipeline (2004-06-01). "Benin": 1–197. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. ^ "West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP)". Hydrocarbons Technology. Retrieved 2020-05-13.